An Amaranthine Desire
Author(s): Matthew Sanderson
Appears in: Nameless Horrors (Supplement)
It is 1895, and on the English Suffolk coast a smuggling ship approaches the shore. Assisted by locals from the nearby village of Dunwich, the crew begins unloading its cargo as a storm grows around them. Dunwich used to be a thriving port, but much of the city was claimed by the sea hundreds of years ago. Now, all that remains is a shadow of its former self. In the darkness beneath the waves, a powerful force remains, keeping a shard of the past very much alive. The investigators, as the smugglers, find themselves entering an echo of the night that sealed the fate of the city.
- (review needed)
Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only
Players should not read any further.
Describe the adventure in detail; no bias allowed.
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The scenario picks up on the legend of the "Three Crowns" that protect the region from invasion, hinted at in this scenario as Mythos relics: one of these crowns was believed to have been buried in "a Saxon royal palace which is now under the sea": Dunwich, in England, an ancient port city lost to the ages in a series of storms caused by the curse of a witch burned at the stake there. The investigators in this scenario are thrown into an echo of the night in 1287 when the first storm hit Dunwich, caught in a time loop, the fallout of actions that took place hundreds of years before the scenario begins, and they are pitted against those who seek the crown for their own ends, doomed to return to the doom that comes upon Dunwich over and over to the end of time.
- Maps & Charts:
- Relationships Chart (keeper's use?)
- Dunwich, England ca. 1287
- Dunwich Through the Ages
- Timeline of Events (keeper's use)
- chart of resets (keeper's use)
- Pregen Summary (keeper's use)
- Dramatis Personae (NPC portraits, might be used as handouts)
- Father Fynche observes the Investigators
- Tarquin, Clare, Nathaniel, and Katherine
- The Windmill
- The Elder Sign
- The Ghost Attacks!
- The Wrath of Ages is cast
- Handout 1: Setting the Scene (scenario background/hook for use with pre-gens)
- Handout 2-7: Legends of the Three Crowns (one for each pre-gen NPC)
- six pre-gen characters
- nameless Great Old One(s) - "She who walks the untrodden paths" and "He that resides beyond our reach", the scenario leaves the identity open-ended; the keeper can insert one appropriate to the keeper's longer-term purposes, or leave it nameless and vague
- Human Cultists
- Tarqin the Owl-Thing
Tomes and Artifacts:
- new spell: "Wrath of Ages" (might be cast by and/or learnt from the witch)
- artifact: Elder Sign
- Sarah's Documents, with teachings of the Servants of the Old Gods (loose handwritten parchments & scrolls; 13th Century, Middle English)
- spell: "Gather the Abundance of the Sea" ("Attract Fish")
- spell: "Contact Deep One" (at keeper's discretion)
- Crown of Anglia
- Servants of the Old Gods
- Priests of St. Bartholomew's
Campaigns / Scenarios:
- (none); Gaslight setting is default, could be moved to other eras
List dedication, trivia, images, anything else of note.
- M.R. James tale "A Warning to the Curious" is an inspiration for the scenario.
- "Amaranthine" refers to a reddish pigment derived from a short-lived, perennial plant.
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.
Setting: The setting is nominally Gaslight England and includes pre-gen characters, but the scenario suggests in a sidebar that for use in other eras with pre-existing characters, the keeper need only ensure that the characters from any era are travelling just off the coast of Suffolk England during a storm: the scenario, after all, is a time-travel story. Though requiring users to be traveling near Dunwich, England, the scenario is left open-ended and broad enough to be used in any era (any era post-Gaslight is implied, but Cthulhu Dark Ages or other unusual settings are possibilities.) The Great Old Ones, monsters, cultists, etc. are left vague enough that they might be tailored to a Keeper's purposes (or, of course, left refreshingly vague.)
Special Notes: typically runs over 1 to 2 sessions, and is reminiscent in style of the film Groundhog Day as the investigators are caught in a time loop, fated to revisit Dunwich until their doom. The pace of the adventure can be regulated by the frequency in which the time loops take place. Keepers should familiarize themselves thoroughly with the background to the scenario, as this will provide the frame of reference upon which each time loop is built, detailing the events leading up to the storm hitting Dunwich in 1287. These events repeat in each loop, but in each instance, the investigators should discover a little more about what is happening, and slowly discover what they need to do to save themselves. The only designated hand-outs provided are not needed except to establish the Pre-Gen character motives, and can thus be omitted if other characters are used instead - the handouts do not need to be edited or replaced or anything. As part of the "Nameless Horrors" supplement, the threat posed by the scenario is vague and undefined - "nameless". The scenario is suitable for an M.R. James themed setting and/or campaign.
Sequel Plot Hooks: (none) Pre-gen characters are provided and the scenario might be played as a stand-alone story, but there is no reason the scenario can't be inserted into a longer campaign with pre-existing investigators. (Note that the only props provided are required by the pre-gen characters, and the scenario doesn't really need them otherwise.)